The Answers You Need to Settle Your Foot Care Questions

Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right answers to your questions. Other times it can be too embarrassing to even ask the right questions. That is why we take the initiative to answer common foot care queries without the need to be asked. Come get the answers you and your feet need.

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  • How does laser therapy reduce swelling?

    Laser therapy can reduce swellingPut simply, low level laser therapy (LLLT) or “cold laser” treatments help your circulatory and lymphatic system function better. Wavelengths of light in the 800 nanometer range increase activity at the cellular level, and when cells can repair themselves and grow more effectively, they do their jobs better.

    Swelling happens in response to an injury or infection, when your body rushes more fluid, nutrients, and white blood cells to the damaged area. It does this to promote healing and fight off invading bacteria or disease. However, if your blood vessels and system of lymph glands are less than healthy, that fluid can build up, causing puffiness, pressure and pain.

    By increasing cell action, LLLT helps tiny capillaries and lymphatic tissues in your feet and ankles become more permeable. This helps them absorb excess fluid and carry it out of your body more efficiently. The net result is less swelling for you, and therefore less pain. Wounds and tissues heal more quickly, and you are back on your feet again sooner.

    To discuss the possibilities of laser therapy for swelling, injury, or another foot issue, call Dr. Robert Parker in Houston, TX at (281) 497-2850 to set up an appointment at Parker Foot & Ankle, or schedule using our online form.

  • What types of conditions benefit from laser therapies?

    Laser therapy is growing in acceptance as more studies are done to measure how well it actually treats foot conditions. There are devices that use light wave lengths to heat and vaporize tissue (like those of toenail fungus cells). Other devices use lower levels and near infrared waves to relieve foot pain, reduce swelling and edema, and promote cell function and faster healing of tissues.

    We currently use Multiwave Locked System (MLS), K-Laser, Hyper Bleu and therapeutic lasers to treat such things as:  

    • Plantar fascia pain
    • Heel Spur Pain
    • Achille’s Tendonits
    • Post operative recovery/Tissue repair after surgery
    • Arthritis and fibromyalgia pain
    • Nerve pain and neuropathy symptoms

    Other types of lasers that use light wavelengths to heat and vaporize tissue (like those of toenail fungus cells), including fungal nails and warts

    To find out if this non-invasive, painless therapy could be the answer for your foot and ankle problems, give Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston a call at (281) 497-2850. We want to help you address your foot issues and be able to enjoy life fully once more.

    Laser therapy at Dr. Parker's office

  • When should I see a podiatrist?

    Knowing what foot problems you can handle yourself and when to see a podiatrist can be tricky. Most would agree that a simple scrape, ingrown toenail, or athlete’s foot infection could probably be treated at home.

    It is always a better idea to see a podiatrist sooner rather than later. But even here there’s a caveat: if you have diabetes, it is always best to get professional help for foot problems. Why visit a podiatrist, even for simple problems like these? Because the risk of infection, gangrene, and amputation looms over any botched attempt to take care of them yourself.

    If you are normally healthy, and the problem is minor, go ahead and try home treatment. If the issue doesn’t improve in a few days or a week, you can still call for help. With any injury, however, seek help right away. For example, symptoms for a sprain and a fracture can be similar. It’s best to get an accurate diagnosis right away. The same holds true for chronic problems that don’t improve with home remedies. Don’t keep walking on your foot and making a problem worse.

    You won’t regret contacting Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston for our expert foot care. Just dial (281) 497-2850 or request your appointment online.

  • Do I need to worry about sugar if I’m not diabetic?

    Even if you don’t have diabetes, too much sugar is like poison in your system, and for this reason you should know the “alias” terms that are sugar in disguise: agave nectar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, maltose, muscavado, turbinado, molasses, rapadura, sucrose—and the list goes on!

    In the early 1900s the average American consumed 25 lbs of sugar per year. Today, the average yearly intake of sugar is roughly 160 lbs!

    Sugars do several things to your body:

    • Is Sugar a Concern if you Don't Have Diabetes?It sets you up to slowly, over 10-20, years develop diabetes from a condition called metabolic syndrome or “pre-diabetes,” causing burning, tingling and numbness beginning of neuropathy.

    • It replaces healthy foods in your diet, so you may lack of important nutrients.

    • It gives you too many calories, stored as fat, so you gain weight.

    • It can increase inflammation in your vessels, making the linings like Velcro rather than Teflon (a process called glycation) and increasing your blood pressure, with all the attendant problems that causes.

    • It promotes tooth decay.

    • It raises your triglyceride levels, which is bad for your entire body.

    • It increases inflammation throughout your body, which is bad for nerves, causing them to swell in respective tunnels such as carpel tunnel in the hand and tarsal tunnel in the foot.

    • It raises insulin levels, the absolute worst effect, increasing risk for not only nerve damage but damaging important muscle that control your vital organs as well.

    • It impairs your immune system.

    • It lowers your energy levels, especially after the hypoglycemic crash, which drives your system to crave even more sugar while the insulin remains high in your system…disaster!

    Of these issues, the ones that affect your feet most directly are the raised glucose levels, which lead to all the above mentioned conditions of poor circulation, and the increase in inflammation—this can damage peripheral nerves and increase incidence of the “itis” conditions like Achilles tendonitis, bursitis, and plantar fasciitis.

    At Parker Foot & Ankle, we see these conditions often; Dr. Parker is one of the country’s leading peripheral nerve surgeons, and we also provide care for a wide range of inflammatory foot conditions. We can also counsel you on healthy eating to build up your feet and head off painful problems. If you are ready to give sugar a break, call our Houston, TX office at (281) 497-2850 for help.

  • What are the different types of arthritis?

    There are many different types of arthritis pain, though a few are more common than others. In the lower limbs, arthritis usually means one of several different types: osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a problem with wear and tear over many years deteriorating the soft tissues in a joint, allowing the bones to rub together. Post-traumatic arthritis develops after an injury. Damage in the joint allows the soft tissues to wear down. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the protective lining around a joint, damaging and deforming it.

    For milder cases, conservative treatments can help you minimize painful pressure on your damaged joints and strengthen supporting muscles and tendons, alleviating pain and slowing the rate of progression. More serious cases may be linked to painful deformities such as bunions or hammertoes and require surgical intervention, and often joint replacements, from Dr. Parker. Make an appointment with us online, or call us at (281) 497-2850, for a full diagnosis and treatment options.

  • Are There Foods that Trigger Gout?

    Foods that Trigger GoutGout is a form of arthritis that is very painful. It occurs when the uric acid levels in the blood become too high and small crystals form around your joints. There are certain foods that trigger gout more than others. People with this type of arthritis should consider limiting animal products such as meat, dairy, fish, and poultry. It’s better to eat plant-based proteins and fats such as beans and legumes. Also, limit the amount of alcohol you drink, especially when you’re having an attack. The worst type of sweetener is high fructose corn syrup, so avoid that whenever possible. Eat more whole grains and complex carbohydrates, as refined carbohydrates break down into sugar in your body too easily. Dr. Parker strongly advises that his patients avoid lots of sugars, wheat, and dairy products in order to steer clear of metabolic syndrome- a condition that affects 27% of our population. Metabolic syndrome is a name for the categorization of several actions that can increase your risk for gout, heart disease, diabetes, and other serious conditions. Lastly, drink a lot of water throughout the day. Don’t guzzle it down, but make sure your body always has an adequate amount of water in it. Aim for 8-16 glasses a day.

    For more information about gout call Dr. Robert Parker at (281) 497-2850 to make an appointment at Parker Foot and Ankle in Houston.

  • Who Does Gout Affect?

    If you’re concerned about gouty arthritis, knowing more about it can help you identify and manage your risks. Who does gout affect? Anyone, actually—though men between 40 and 50 are the most likely victims. In women it will typically develop after menopause. Receiving an organ transplant or having a family history of the disorder increases your risk as well. If you are overweight, struggle with high blood pressure or cholesterol, live with diabetes, or have circulatory problems, you also have higher odds for developing it.

    Diet can play a role as well. Certain foods and drinks that are high in purines (a protein that produce the uric acid that causes gout pain) may increase your risk for a painful attack. Alcohol, red meats, turkey, corn syrup, and excess sugar all have high purine levels, and so need to be consumed in moderation or avoided altogether. If you’re concerned about your risks for gout, or have already suffered from gouty pain, let Parker foot & Ankle know. We can help you control your joint discomfort. Send us a request online or call (281) 497-2850 to reach our Houston office.

  • What do I need to do to prevent injuries from falling?

    Since the effects of falls are much more serious as you get older, senior fall prevention is important. Considering steps to stay safe on your feet can prevent avoidable injuries and keep you mobile in your golden years. Factors that contribute to falls include your shoes, your strength, your diet, and the surfaces you stand on. The right shoes will support your feet, but the wrong pair may cause biomechanical issues or pain that contributes to feeling unsteady. Weakened feet aren’t able to stabilize you—and may allow balance issues to creep in. What you eat plays a role as well; nutrition affects your nerves and tissue strength.

    You may not be able to control what you stand on at all times, but you can certainly work to make sure the floors and rugs in your home won’t trip you. Secure loose rugs with double-sided tape and don’t walk around in slick socks. Keep walking pathways clear of all clutter or cords. If you’re concerned about preventing falls or treating foot conditions that make you unstable, let Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston know. You can reach us for an appointment by calling (281) 497-2850 or using our website.

  • How do I choose the right walking shoes?

    Choosing walking shoes is like selecting any other kind of athletic footwear: look for models that are specifically designed to handle the strain of your activity and choose a pair that fits comfortably. Different styles are built to handle different terrains and mileage. The mechanics of walking are not the same as running or other sports, either, so simply grabbing a pair of jogging shoes may not be your best bet.

    Look for models with cushioned soles and supported arches that match your biomechanical needs. Select kinds made with canvas, mesh, or other natural and breathable materials. An Achilles notch in the heel counter will reduce the strain on the tendon. The sole should have solid tread to help your traction. Make sure you have plenty of room to wiggle your toes in the toe box as well. If you walk casually for exercise, then general walking models, crossovers, and light running shoes may be all you need. Race walking, long-distance, and hiking will need sturdier styles. If you’d like help finding and fitting the best shoes for your feet, contact us at Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston, Texas. You can call (281) 497-2850 or use the website to reach us.

  • How do I pick the right work shoes?

    How to pick the right work shoesChoosing work shoes depends largely on your job and the demands it puts on your feet. If you work in an office and spend most of the day sitting, you have a lot of flexibility for choosing shoes. Just make sure models fit comfortably and support your lower limbs. If you have a job that requires standing or walking most of the day, or has a hazardous environment, your needs will be more specific. Choose shoes that will cushion, support, and protect.

    Low heels, wide and deep toe boxes, padded soles, and good arch support are all musts. You need models that will help your lower limbs absorb shock and distribute your body weight evenly, so standing doesn’t take too much of a toll on the feet. If you work in a hazardous environment, you may need steel toe caps and water- or fire-resistant shoe materials to keep your lower limbs safe. If you’re not sure how to fit work shoes, or would like help finding the right kinds, let Dr. Robert Parker of Parker Foot & Ankle know. See how our team can help. Call (281) 497-2850 or use our website to make an appointment with our Houston office.